Project agora's "With (& Without) Words"

A dance may be performed in silence and a song without dance

PREVIEW In 2006 Kara Davis and Bliss Kohlmyer Dowman founded project agora as an umbrella organization under which they could present their own choreography. Strong and experienced performers — Davis with Kunst-Stoff and Janice Garret and Dancers; Kohlmyer Dowman with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Robert Moses' Kin — the two got to the point where realizing other choreographers' dances became less attractive and creating their own work grew more compelling.

For With (& Without) Words, Davis went solo. She hooked up with soprano and songwriter Kary Stephan for an evening of songs and dances in a format in which a dance may be performed in silence and a song without dance. Davis and Stephan had admired each other from afar but decided to work together when they found that they had more in common than either initially had thought. Both were classically trained: Davis in ballet, Stephan in opera. Yet both had vastly expanded their artistic interests since those early days. For Davis, the idea of performing to live music became irresistible, while Stephan had watched and taken some of Davis' modern dance classes and found she liked the experience.

The resulting collaboration will run in something akin to a salon format at the Community Music Center with the audience surrounding the vocalists and dancers. Davis' veteran and new colleagues Nol Simonse, Marina Fukushima, Daniel Howerton, and Sierra Stockton will perform, and Stephan will be accompanied by a chamber music trio.

PROJECT AGORA'S WITH (& WITHOUT) WORDS Fri/13–Sat/14 and March 20–21, 8 p.m.; $10 at door only. Community Music Center, 544 Capp, SF. (415) 509-2124

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